The Chicago police officer who shot and killed 22-year-old Rekia Boyd coincidentally resigned from his job Tuesday, thus preserving his pension and other retirement benefits.
Dante Servin quit the police force two days before an “evidentiary hearing” with the Chicago Police Board where he faced the possibility of being terminated, according to Max Caproni, executive director of the police board. This means that any charges against the 24-year-veteran will be thrown out, DnaInfo.com reports. Servin’s resignation also means he’ll get to keep his pension and retirement benefits, which would have been lost of he was fired.
According to DnaInfo.com, Martinez Sutton, the brother of Rekia Boyd, wasn’t at all surprised that the former cop resigned. Sutton said he figured the process would drag on until Servin was able to keep his pension, the news site reports.
“Everybody knew it wasn’t going to go through,” Martinez Sutton, Rekia Boyd’s brother, said of Servin’s police board hearing. “It’s like making a movie: You know that movie is being made. You know how the ending will go. You just don’t know the release date.”
Community activists aren’t too happy about the ex-police officer quitting either.
“The best union to be in in this country is the [Fraternal Order of Police] because you can get away with murder and still get paid,” neighborhood anti-violence organizer and activist Father Michael Pfleger said.
In March 2012, Servin fired shots at a group of Boyd’s friends as they stood near Douglas Park, which is located on Chicago’s west side, according to the Huffington Post. Boyd and her friends had their backs turned to the former officer. Authorities say Servin, who was off-duty at the time, argued with the group about their noisiness prior to firing the shot that hit Boyd in the back of the head.
According to the Huffington Post, Servin says he opened fire because he thought one of Boyd’s friends had a gun; that “gun” turned out to be a cell phone.
Years before Servin was ever arrested for the deadly shooting, Boyd’s family won a $4.5 million lawsuit against the city. Per the Huffington Post, the former officer was charged with involuntary manslaughter two years following the 22-year-old’s death, making him the first officer in 15 years to be criminally charged in a fatal shooting.
Servin was ultimately acquitted in 2015 after a judge ruled the former cop’s actions were intentional but not reckless. Therefore, there was no way for prosecutors to prove involuntary manslaughter, the Huffington Post reports.
According to DNAInfo.com, Servin’s continued presence on the police force following his acquittal sparked demonstrations and led to the defeat of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez in the March primary. Alvarez was the one who decided to charge the police veteran with involuntary manslaughter instead of murder.
Last December, former police Superintendent Gary McCarthy finally requested that Servin be fired, The Huffington Post reports. Rekia’s brother was hoping for the cop’s termination too, but it never happened.
“Why are we even fighting?,” Sutton said. “He should be in a cell, like every other criminal serving his time. Even if I’m fighting to get this guy fired, he’s free to go about his life. He’s free to get another job.”
Trina Reynolds-Tyler of activist group Black Youth Project 100 called Servin’s resignation “disrespectful,” DnaInfo.com reports. The organization also pushed for the police officer’s termination.
“He just took an early retirement,” Reynolds-Tyler said. “It’s ridiculous that this process has taken so long to get to a firing hearing.”
Per DnaInfo.com, the Black Youth Project released a statement Tuesday saying they would call on Chicago’s City Council to prevent Servin from receiving his benefits.
“Dante Servin will still receive a pension that is paid for by us Chicagoans; this is unacceptable,” the group’s statement reads. “We must now pressure the Chicago City Council to prohibit Servin from receiving a pension (from a city that claims to lack financial resources) for the murder of Rekia Boyd – a daughter, a sister, and a human being.”
Despite Sutton’s disapproval of the “just us” system, Rekia’s brother says he remains hopeful due to the love and support of community activists who “treated him like a brother,” DnaInfo.com reports.
“With enough public pressure [we could cut off his pension],” Sutton said. “With the power of the people, anything is possible.”